I’ve been using Linux Mint on and off since its version 13 “Maya” which came out in 2012, but it is my main desktop since last year when 17.1 “Rafaela” came out. I’ve also used on occasion Ubuntu especially with a laptop I had three years ago which was also my main box back then. It had a 128GB SSD and was fast as wheels.
When I got my latest desktop computer last year, I had the choice to use Windows 8.1 but decided to keep using a Linux OS since I had got all my needs fulfilled with my Ubuntu Laptop back then and had already got my hands dirty with a Linux OS since 2002 (I think I started using something like RedHat back then but I don’t remember exactly). So I wasn’t afraid to use a Linux OS as my sole desktop.
Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon Edition might be 2015’s best Linux distro.
Anywho, since last May I use full time Linux Mint and since last November I’m using the LMDE 2 “Betsy” version. I keep looking around on the Web testing some other distros which I install on VirtualBox and keep asking to myself: “Is that all there is up ’til now with the Linux Desktop?”. I came to realize lately that my answer was “Yes.”. Beyond RedHat, OpenSUSE, Gentoo, Elementary OS, Fedora, Ubuntu and Mint OSes and the KDE, Gnome, XFCE, LXDE, Cinnamon or Mate Desktop Environments (I might be skipping some lesser interesting DEs, sorry to offend some), there isn’t quite much to add at the end of 2015. I’ve pretty much done the whole hat trick in terms of Linux OSes and DEs.
So where I’m getting it at is which one is really getting the desktop trophy for the 2015 Desktop Environment of the year?
I started using Linux Mint 13 with the MATE Desktop Environment back in 2012 because it felt to be the best DE matching my old Windows XP environment back then. Gnome and KDE just didn’t feel right. They were too… well too different to feel at home as a main DE. And since last May I’ve been using the Cinnamon DE and I think I didn’t make a mistake overall. The environment offers the best of both MATE and a OS X environment, well… almost a OS X environment.
I did use OS X Lion for a while back in 2011. It was a great environment with wonderful apps. At the end of that year I lost my MBP and it was the end of my adventure with Apple. For financial reasons I couldn’t afford to continue to use a Mac so I moved on with Ubuntu. The best I can do to remember OS X is to switch on once in a while a Hackintosh version I have on my VirtualBox app and drool over some features which I miss dearly.
I do recommend strongly for those who’ve been in the situation of not being able to keep up with an Apple machine to move on to a Linux box. For those using OS X, please keep using it. Don’t ever look back even if Yosemite broke somethings. And for Windows Users: keep using it until you get mad at it and when you’ll get to that point maybe start looking at OS X.
For the rest of us, there’s other systems but Linux is still a choice and Linux Mint, or at least, the Cinnamon DE, is maybe the best choice in terms of Ubuntuish OS and DE or Debianish OS and DE, but still look into other OSes until it suits your purposes.
In terms of Desktop Environment for a Linux OS I think Cinnamon is the best environment out there.
As for its underlying system, the LMDE Mint is maybe one of the best in my opinion for everyday desktop usage, but still, Debian 9 is about to come soon so we’ll see if the Mint team will keep up with another LMDE version and as far as Ubuntu 16.04 and Mint 18 versions, we’ll have to see very soon if the tendency holds up with the solid versions of the 17.x series.